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TALK WITH JOE - FEB. 10, 1969

"Joe, you've just got to take a walk. Central Park is beautiful in the snow."

"I was writing a letter, and I thought when I'd finished it, I might walk across to the Metropolitan."

"Good. You shouldn't miss it outside. Say---I'm not sure whether I should say anything, but if I goof, I goof. I've gotten the suspicion that maybe you're trying to get rid of me, like you've gotten rid of Peter."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, it seems you seldom call, but when I call you, you're always affable. But that's like what you said about Peter: you're courteous with him, but you won't call him, because as far as you're concerned, you're through with him. I fear I might be in the same boat."

"No. Not really. No, it's not the same."

"But it's something like that, since you seem hesitant about answering me."

"Well, you do a lot of things that annoy me."

"Things that you don't tell ME that annoy you. What sort of things that I do annoy you?"

"I can't tell you anything without your getting terse with me. Whenever I talk to you about certain things, you get huffy. Then I stop, because there's no use arguing about it."

"Like what?"

"Oh, I've never liked the idea of your quitting your job. Your whole life is involved with sex. I know that doesn't sound too connected, but I think it's the same thing. In that, you're just like Peter. You know, I know you have trouble with sex, but even though you might not HAVE sex very often, that doesn't mean that your life isn't involved with it. You have those pictures and films---I just think that's a waste of time, and I don't intend to waste my time that way. You don't have to work if you don't want to, but I'd sort of hoped you'd work on a book, but you haven't been, and I'm disappointed with you. That's none of my business though. I've tried to tell you about it a couple of times, but you just get huffy about it, so I drop it."

"I seem to remember---maybe I MISremember, correct me if I'm wrong---I seem to remember you're saying that I never get angry about anything, that I was never involved in anything, and NOW you're saying that I get angry when you talk about certain things. I'm confused: what's what?"

"I do remember saying that you never get angry about things---I admit it sounds like a contradiction, but that's the way it is."

"And then you said it was none of your business. In a sense it isn't, but in a sense it IS. It's like my being after you to show your things, to sell your things, to get feedback on how you're painting---do you remember how many times I told you you should show more of your things?"

"Yeah, and that reminds me---but I won't go into it. I told myself I'd never tell you about it."

"What? About what? You can't start something like that and not finish."

"Well, when I used your typewriter for my paper, I read a letter you wrote to a friend of yours, and it made me very angry."

"What was that? Who to? What did I say?"

"Oh, you said something about your GIRLFRIEND painting---"

"THAT, you were angry about THAT?"

"You were telling them about your girlfriend---"

"But that was a CONTEST. I addressed it to WCBS-TV---I mean WCBS-FM---"

"It was to Gordon Leigh---"

"That's not the name---what WAS the name?"

"Or was it Jordan?"

"THAT'S it, Jordan---someone Jordan---yes, LEE Jordan, he has this morning show, and he was giving away free tickets to "Celebration," and so I couldn't very well talk about my BOY friend giving me a painting, so I said GIRL friend. I can understand your point, though, I'd hate to be called 'she,' too."

"But you asked him to---something like you wanted to see him for lunch."

"LUNCH? Ridiculous---let's see, it was one of those answer in 25 words or less things, and I worked to get it down to 24 words."

"But it was worded so peculiarly, I didn't like it at all. I thought I'd never speak to you again."

"How SILLY! Why didn't you TELL me about it? What a ridiculous misunderstanding. I think it's VERY funny."

"Well, I don't think it's funny."

"You might not think it's funny NOW, but you will."

"It was very peculiarly worded."

"Let's see---I would like to go to the theatre with you because:---how would I ever talk to a friend like that??"

"It was very funny."

"Let me see if I have a copy of it---hang on." But I don't.

"Anyway, I knew where you read it, I keep things like that in the first section of my desk file, but I threw it out. It was a deadline of like January 15, and I sent it in, but they didn't award me the tickets, so I threw it out. But THAT'S what I mean about talking. We only talked once, before, about that confusion about going on vacation to St. Croix."

"I didn't like that, either. You said you were worried about staying in Dick's house because we wouldn't be able to go to bed together, but then when we talked about sexual problems after that, you said I didn't turn you on anymore. I don't know what to believe."

"Those were two completely different times. I thought you didn't want to see me so much, so I stopped calling you. Then you stopped calling me, and we just drifted apart. Joe, to be honest, I think we have a lot in common. Isn't it possible to have a relationship based on something besides sex?"

"Yes, but we seemed to have nothing left."

"But I think we have a lot in common---we like the same plays and books, we have the same kind of personality, we like the same kind of jokes."

"The only time you call me is when you have nothing to do. For weeks at a time I won't hear from you, then you'll call."

"Would you have joined Paul and me at Hawaii Kai? Would you have joined Bernie and me at Dionysus? Would you have joined Don and me at Hadrian VII? I know you don't have much money. I know you don't like Monopoly and games that I would play with Avi; I know you don't like bars---so when could I call you?

"Well, that may be true, but it seemed that it was the end of the relationship."

"It seemed like the end because I suspected you were trying to get rid of me---well, we went into that. But you suspected something about me, and I suspected something about you, and we never SAID anything. Let me ask another question: have you been going to bed with other people since me?"

"Yes, a few times, but I'm not as wrapped up in sex as you are. You didn't seem to need sex as much as I did. But I still say that you quit work so that you could experiment---I remember your saying that you might want to go to bed with a woman and get married."

"Well, that might have changed a bit, but that still doesn't say we don't have things in common."

"We might, but we never seem to talk about them."

"That's one of the reasons I called, we SHOULD talk about these things, I think."

"Well, maybe."

"OK, we'll see about it. Like I say, I think it's possible to have a relationship that's not based on sex."

"I'm not saying it's not."

"OK, I have to go. Call you later."





TALK WITH AZAK - FEB. 10, 1969

We talk about his breakup with Jerry, and he calls Raoul, and Raoul makes him happy by saying that Jerry has a friend, and he and Barton stayed for the weekend at Raoul's and broke everything up, with come in the bathroom and cream under the bed, everything dirtied and even his Mies chairs torn. Azak's hurt about the breakup with Jerry, which took place over the telephone that afternoon, but when he calls to talk to him, there's no answer.

Later, Azak gives some blatant song and dance about the nutcracker, and how "Butch" it is, and urges me to use it. I oblige him, and he's sitting on the rug in front of the table, watching me as he would hope I would think a ten-year-old would watch an adored uncle, and I'm on the sofa.

"Are you comfortable there, Bob?" Azak asks, seductively.

"Yes," I say, since I can't read his mind to see what his REAL question is.

"Do you want me to play some kind of music?" I ask.

"No, I don't have anything I'd like to hear," he says, but in a few minutes I decide that I want to hear some music, and I put on Schubert, and stand above him as he moves back to lean against the yellow chair. On impulse, wanting to be close to him, I step my right foot over him.

"Don't stay standing like THAT" he says, beguilingly, smiling up.

"OK," and I oblige him by squatting directly down, my butt just grazing his fly, which proceeds to get hard under my ass.

"Oh my," he says coquettishly.

We kiss briefly, and as the music plays I run my fingers over his prominent collar bones, beneath his tan cashmere sweater. We talk again of his breakup with Jerry, and my trouble with Joe, and I finally sit to one side, still rubbing his sweater as he plays with my hands and forearms.

"Oh, I've done some hustling too, but I have to," he said, following some train of thought logically. "Do you know that at the end of every month I have to scrape up $600 in cash to send to my family overseas? I have to pay for the house in Israel, for my brother in a mental institution, and for his two sons."

"Why do you have to do that?"

"It's my responsibility!"

"It's a responsibility you took on yourself. You probably feel that it's something that you have to do because you're not there yourself."

"Do you think that's possible? I never thought of that. You may be right." And at this point, as usual, I can't tell whether Azak is telling the truth, or only being coy.

"If I did something like that, I'd for darn sure feel that it was some sort of compensation for a guilt feeling that I felt."

"Sure I feel guilty, about being homosexual!"

"Nonsense, Azak, why should you feel guilty about it?"

"I do, though."

"I don't, though I can't tell my mother about me, or SHE'D feel guilty. I told her once what I thought of her, and it hurt her very much, and I was sorry I said it, and the only thing she could take consolation from, since I wouldn't apologize, was that I think she REALIZED I was sorry I said it. She started to cry and possibly to suspect it."

"You can never change your parents."

"I didn't know that, even though my sister did. SHE told me the same thing. She's right, of course, but I just hoped I could---oh, get THROUGH."

"I've always felt I had to support my nephews."

"Where are they."

"They're in a home in Israel."

"So let ISRAEL support them, YOU don't have to." For a moment, he looks at me as if it just might possibly be true, then the veil falls.

"I can't talk about that. Let's talk about something else." He says the same words again when I say he doesn't HAVE to feel guilty about being gay. It's almost impossible to talk about many things with him. I suppose I should bring the relationship to some sort of questioning climax, as he asks me, "When will I try you as a cocksucker?" With coyness, oh, DAMN him.




Into the apartment and two rather drained looking individuals lift their heads from the sofa, looking at me. They introduce themselves as Lou and Phil, and we talk on a bit about Joan, how we know each other, about the "light beige" paint mixed for the tiny inner room, and I joke that it's really as close to flesh color as I could imagine, and later we joke about Joan undressing and vanishing into the wall, visible only for her two "checkers" which move against the invisible backdrop.

Just as the conversation dies altogether, Mike and Stewart enter, and those two are quite beautiful, more attractive by far than Lou and Phil, except that it seems they are straight, but one can't be sure with such free and easy people. Joan and Pat enter quickly, and Joan hugs Mike and Stewart, shouts hello to me, and I question Pat about his Joe Nameth Fu Manchu beard and mustache, but it's only because he finds it impossible to shave with his "cancer of the chin" which breaks out in moist scabby sores.

We were just about to start when Joan came in, and I know that the rollers are easier to handle than the brushes, and that though the ceiling might be harder to paint than the walls or the floors, at least being on a ladder will prevent my head from getting clobbered with paint, so I mount a ladder along with Phil, who's taken off his shirt to reveal a reasonably muscled body which has fallen in on itself over a rather slim paunch, with its bush of hair vanishing into his blue jeans below his navel. Joan has a radio on, and it plays nicely on WOR, and everyone grabs a brush and we're off.

Jokes fly back and forth, and Pat goes to work on the radiator only to complain that the heat is vaporizing the paint, and he's really getting nowhere. Lou wanted to put the material up on the wall, but he never got around to it, using a brush on one of the walls. Joan starts on the window frame, and I'm happy that I don't have to worry about any detail work. Slowly the others stop, and then Pat irrepressibly calls a work break just before we've finished with the end of the inner room, and we're down off ladders and stand around the messy room passing joints around, and there are about three going among the seven people, and arms cross and re-cross, and there's enough so that everyone gets a mild high rather quickly, and then a few more joints are lit just to make it official. We're back to painting the rest of the first room, and then Pat gets out the plate of cold cuts and cheese, and then the chips come out (produced when Phil called out "Where are the chips?" but I heard "Where are the chicks?" and got immediately paranoid about misjudging him as being gay).

Pat is making a campy joke about painting in the cracks, and it's obvious he's talking about fucking, and I have rather much fun making double entendres, and for many moments we're just convulsed with laughing. When the peanuts come out, I can't resist stopping painting, and there are only spots to finish, and Stewart is up on a chair daubing at spots when Patrick empties one of the cellophane bags, blows it up, and I recoil in semi-mock, semi-real anticipation of the enormous sound, and it DOES sound enormous, so enormous that Stewart spasms and crouches down on the chair on which he was standing to paint, mouth wide in a howl of laughter and anguish, shouting "You BASTARD" at Pat, and Pat laughs his wide-eyed cackle, and I go into hysterics about Stewart's red face, howling with surprise, clutching a paintbrush and a pail, laughing on the chair seat.

Stewart turns even more charming later when Mike comes in from the kitchen with a stool being moved into the living room, and Stewart turns around to see it coming and recoils so effectively that he finds himself seated on the floor at my feet, and he's flipped Mike out completely, Lou and Phil and Pat gather around to see what's happened, and again I completely collapse in laughter.

There are some remarks about Joan's passing around "cold nuts" and Mike and Stewart break up into the most natural, open, childlike laughter imaginable, and Stewart's mop of red hair becomes more and more likeable, his droopy blue jeans, sagging more when his legs bow out with mock weakness during his laughter as he staggers about the room clutching walls in his spasms of humor, seem to conceal well-built legs, and when I talk to him, his ruddy face and clear eyes seem affectionate and accepting.

Mike begins to laugh more and more, and I'm reminded of a cuter Otto, with his soft beard and large intense eyes, and his striped bells are more explicit about a nice pair of legs. At last we're all sitting on the sofa and chairs while Joan works away on a chest of drawers front, and again the joints are passed around and all thought of painting is forgotten. Phil asks if I want a dog, and thinking of a roach, imagine he's using some sort of slang expression, and I look at him blankly and ask "What's a dog?" which breaks the place up, and he goes on to explain that it's part German shepherd and part collie, and I laugh at my expectation of something grassy.

Stewart gets the half-gallon of wine, searches for a glass and finds one wet with paint, and then I find the one I kicked under the sofa, and it's clean, and he asks if I want to find one for me, and I say I'll share his if he doesn't mind, and he doesn't, and we share two glasses of wine, almost, before he kicks the glass over and it spills over the floor, partially mingling with raspberry soda, which was vile tasting and had been spilled earlier. Joan joins us in the group and remarks about the strangeness of six fellows and one girl, and I wish she and a couple of the fellows would leave so others of us could get down to serious lovemaking. We alternately talked about serious things and rocked with laughter when a chance remark, said seriously, would be taken as completely unconnected by someone else. They would start to laugh, and then the infectious laughing would take over the whole group, and it got positively grotesque.

The climax came when the drying plaster on the wall, which had been carefully repainted by Stewart, was noticed by me as being a huge hairy wet spot on the wall, and Patrick immediately took up the hue and cry and started blithering obscenities about "This huge hairy cunt spread out on the wall." Stewart collapsed into his own arms when he realized what he had done, Mike guffawed loudly, and Joan looked vaguely embarrassed while Pat, having the floor, went on and on. "Welcome to Joan's place, wanna see her cunt? Here it is, splashed over the wall. My God, it's so realistic you can practically SMELL it."

A new gale of laughter would hit the room, and he'd half close his mouth and give his low chuckle in his throat, which made him look and sound like some sort of craning bird crooning dirty jokes to himself. "That's just what that wall needed, a big gaping SNATCH, spread all across the wall." Each word was articulated with his particular writhing of the lips, and snatch came out like a wet spider and dropped into each set of listening ears and both tickled and fascinated in a way that was unutterably funny.

For many minutes it seemed that Joan was trying to get everyone interested in painting the other room, and Pat led the shirkers in saying that the party was too good to ruin by thinking about more work. "Can't we come and do the same thing NEXT Sunday?" Then Lou took compassion on Joan and started pouring the yellow paint into the beige, and it came out looking like a cross between whipped cream and a plaster statue, all in one clotted piece, gleaming with sub-clots and clumps of white paint which obviously could never be mixed completely. Again there were gales of laughter about the funniness of the consistency of the paint, and then when they started mixing, Mike was bent over and Pat was egging him on, shouting "Mix your ass with that paint, mix away, lackey, move your ass, let's get it all mixed." Mike would stir for a few moments beyond some of Pat's jokes, then to a delayed double take and almost fall into the paint can with laughter.

Stewart revealed his first propensities for putting people on with an absolutely straight face by glancing down at the paint slopping into inch-deep pools around the paint can by saying "That's the way to do it Mike, if you mix it fast, you'll find it easier as time goes on, because you will have spilled it all onto the floor." Since it started out sounding serious, we all took it seriously for about fifteen seconds after he said it, and then his seriousness cracked all over his face, he turned red with laughter, bending forward and slapping his knee and banging his feet up and down on the floor in excess of glee, and the whole place boiled into absolutely helpless laughter, clutching each other, draping their gasping bodies over chairs, leaning against the wall and threading paint-wet fingers through their hair.

Lou again started things going, and almost before anyone could realize it, they were back to work again, rollers on the ceiling, except that Stewart stepped down and said he found it impossible to do. Phil had left, saying he would be back, and Lou went upstairs to attend to his guests who were coming later. I asked if I could go up to make a call, and we went up two flights of stairs. He said he thought they would never end, and I related my step-climbing in Fez which I thought would never end, descending the spiral staircase down to hell itself. His apartment was a real eye-opener: a long hallway reeking art and fabric, a comfortably cluttered room with chatchkas and paintings and fabrics and hangings and pieces of furniture in tasteful profusion, but there was no answer when I called John.

Later on, at Mike's, when I called John I listened to the phone ring unanswered with some sort of relief: by that time I was so far out on a trip that I wouldn't have known what to say had he answered.

Lou seemed intent on communicating his highness to me, and I thought there may have been a slight cruise mixed in with his acceptance of my compliments about his apartment, but immediately the call was over, we left the apartment, and there was nothing personal between us at all.

Back at the painting, Mike got onto the other ladder, and I began to get vaguely dizzy as I turned my head up and down from the ceiling. The ladder trembled strangely, and at one point I over-balanced and threatened to crash into the highboy, but I put out a necessary finger and warded off the catastrophe. Paint was handed back and forth from ladder-top to ladder-top, but the ladder tops weren't the same, and the whole tray of paint threatened to slam to the floor in an explosion of pigment that would inundate an entire room.

The colors also came in for their ribbing, and what started as a light beige turned into a sort of a shit-colored tan, and Pat refused to let it alone. When the yellow was mixed with it, it because a rather stomach-turning mixture of vomit and excrement, and later when we got to the bottom where the globules of unmixed white were lurking, the yellow got lighter and more creamy, and became pustular and truly venomous. (Just talked on the phone with Joan, who was talking to Mike, and Mike insisted that he and she would repaint the whole thing next weekend, since she couldn't possibly live with those awful colors. I said it was entirely up to her, and she ended by saying she couldn't possibly go through the whole thing again.)

Stewart was walking along the sink and cabinets and stove with a brush doing the area above the sink, Pat tackled the door with a vicious lavishness, and I ended up doing the baseboard after Mike and I wrestled the highboy from the corner. When it was about finished, Pat's comments were too much to take, and I got the paranoid feeling that he was making fun of me, and I couldn't stand it, so I put down the roller and went into the living room to enjoy the fun with the three guys, then Joan called for help and Mike was drafted, and then Stewart took another turn, then I joined her in doing a piece of the hall leading into the bathroom, but the laughter from the gang in the living room drew me back to putting a paintbrush where it had been least often seen: Patrick's hand. He looked at it as if he feared it would bite him, and then looked up at me with a curse I'm sure he fully intended.

Dropping acid-comment after acid-comment behind him, he threw his hand melodramatically to his forehead and barged into the kitchen, only to shout and crash immediately by stepping into the kitty litter. Stewart collapsed into laughter once more when he stepped into the glob around the can with his bare feet and began putting yellow footprints all around the black floor, and later when we were talking Joan stepped into the same puddle, and Pat dryly remarked "That's the way to get rid of a puddle, Joanie, step into it and spread it all around the place. That's the way to go, Joanie-baby."

At another point there was a flurry from the stove and Stewart dropped out of the air, landing carefully on the floor, destroying nothing but the stability of every personality in the room, and I questioned whether he had slipped or whether Pat had pulled him off, and I later saw him tackle one of Pat's feet until his amusement turned into horror and he left go before Pat tumbled to the floor. Mike would climb a ladder every so often just to get out of the range of the paint, sitting on his perch like a grinning cock, cutely detaching himself from "all the crazy people there on the floor."

Joan sat on the floor doing the apartment door with a tiny brush, and both Stewart and I were dropping paint on her in such quantities that she at one point shouted "Jesus Christ, it feels like it's RAINING in here," ending with a squeal of laughter that doubled us all over. Patrick stood off, drinking beer can after can, shouting "Joan, don't paint over the eyehole, Joan, I said you're painting over the eyehole. JOAN, will you listen to me, you're covering the eyehole with paint!" And at each comment there would be a louder roar of laughter.

In the living room, sober for a moment, Pat and I looked around and unequivocally agreed that the apartment looked far worse now than it had in the beginning. I in my sock feet, Stewart barefooted, and the others with shoes had managed to make up the floor until most of it was shit beige or baby-poop yellow, and I suggested the only way to clean it would be to fill the entire apartment with two inches of water, empty out a couple cans of Lestoil, and then skate around the apartment in bare feet among the foaming bubbles.

Between gales of laughter I scraped the paint off my watch face, and we all roared when Joan appeared with paint on her lips, causing Pat to go off onto a tirade about how "Joanie will put ANYTHING into her mouth," and how "Give a gal a stick and she'll suck it before she'll fuck it," or "My God, Joan, whose asshole did you kiss after it sat down in the paint can?"

There was a huge area above the greenly painted electric meter that I finally got to, and rather addledly gave the meter face a second coat of paint: after all, it was covered already, might as well cover it uniformly! Paint spots appeared everywhere: on Stewart's old felt hat with the wide brim, on the elbow of Pat's suede jacket, on the tip of my shoe, all over the bottoms of Stewart's feet and my socks, two huge globs had fallen onto Bill Dremak's sleeping bag, Mike had painted the side of the cabinets that had been painted before, and Pat took a brush and started sloshing huge quantities of paint above the archway, until later I had to go back and smooth over stalactite drops depending from the archway for half an inch.

The pot was long gone, I got the noshes along with everyone else and rapidly cleared up the sliced ham, the salami, the cheese, the chips, the peanuts, and much of the wine, along with much beer and raspberry soda, and then Mike started talking about the cheesecake in his refrigerator and eight hungry eyes turned greedily toward him, and I think Pat started putting on his coat in that instant. Joan pleaded with us to finish first, but she began accepting the fact that she could do the bathroom herself, the hall bookcase herself, and other things herself, along with the cleaning up, and finally we left everything in the crowded sink and adjourned to the next building to Mike's apartment. I'd gotten the idea he lived further uptown, but there it was, apartment 5 like Joan's, but much larger and the inner room was truly beautiful.

It looked like an enormous room, with a simplicity that made it look even bigger. There were only three pieces of furniture in the room: a bed that was comprised of three mattresses atop each other, covered with a sheep's wool coverlet which continued the motif of the shag-wool white carpet on the floor, stark against the black-painted floor edging the rug, a chair which Joan took, and a large round table at the kitchen end of the room. Bookshelves were against the far wall and on either side of the brick fireplace, which he had painted white, and in the grate stood a half dozen potted plants with a bright light from the flue shining down on them in clear purity. Above the bookcases on either side of the fireplace, centered in their little alcoves, were two posters, one of fine lines which seemed to recede into space under the fluorescent tube illuminating it. On the far wall was an arresting painting of a three-pronged tree branch silhouetted against the full moon, and minutely drawn on one branch, frighteningly lifelike, was a mantis-like figure with enormous eyes turned directly toward the viewer, causing shivers of primeval fear.

We settled appreciatively into this room, he got out his grass, along with a can of creamed herring and crackers, more chips, something called Ring-Dings which they hailed as the epitome of prepackaged garbage, and the cheesecake, which flaked apart into bottom and strawberry topping, giving terrible problems for the heads sitting on the floor with inept forks, and giving Pat something to castigate us about, while we writhed on the floor in helpless laughter.

"Bridge Over Troubled Waters" came and went about five times on the various radios, and we would stop reverently and listen to it, and I said it was the same as a musical bridge that would take the listener from one world to another, like a segue, and that blew their minds.

Mike pulled the cord for the ceiling fixture, and it was a stark three-lobed socket with three enormous smoke-colored bulbs, nothing more, that cast a clear light in the room, and I remarked it was like sitting on an open-air porch, and we started talking about breezes and crickets, and we all went out on the same trip. More joints were passed around, and there was affectionate finger-touching all around, the food made us feel good, and then we passed around the teleidoscope, looking at the faceted quartz under the fluorescent light, looking into the bright white and green fireplace, looking at people.

Stewart again solemnized his face and looked seriously at Joan, "Your apartment will be fine as soon as we repaint the whole thing." Joan stopped rocking in her chair and looked down in horror, "WHAT?" Stewart made the attempt to say it again with a straight face, but after five words, his face splintered into creases of grins and laughing, and I practically pounded the floor with my fists to get the laughter out. For awhile all the lights went out except for the ultraviolet, and they pointed to me as being in the spotlight, my white shirt glowing eerily in the dimness. Listening to the music, to the crackle when it got a bit out of tune, I again began to go off into my world.

When the lights were on, I would imagine our all being on some front porch of childhood, together, and again I got the inkling of Joan and Pat and the others as the archetypal figures, eternal through the world, who would appear and reappear in my life. I was reliving the experience at Mahonoy City, except that Mike and Stewart were two beautiful additions to the group. Stewart had opened his shirt and stretched out on the floor, and our feet almost touched, and I felt tremendously close to him.

Some music came on with the refrain "No time, no time, no time," and the joy of the possibility of time NOT being important again rose the hair at the back of my neck. There IS no time; I DON'T have to worry about time; this CAN go on as long as I like.

Then the music got stranger, everyone grew silent, enjoying their high, having been laughed out and eaten to completion, they were enjoying the music and the presences in the room. I went into my mystical state, feeling kinship with everyone in the room, looking from face to quiet face with reverence and I started my word-fugue, though with a curious sense of REALITY about it, as though I had come face to face with Santa Claus, and though I know I believed in him as a child, I now believed in him as an ADULT, and it was all the difference in the world. I wasn't high, I was transfigured, and I almost suspected that there was an aura rising from my head.

I know I froze in my seat, except for very slow even motions such as throwing my head back as if rustling my hair backward over my shoulders, or raising my joined fingertips higher and higher as if I were praying to a higher and higher personage above. I had again the sense that I WAS God, that I COULD do anything, and I thought again of the light, and all its manifestations: the light above the plants, the light on the ceiling, the light from the next room, and I knew that I was off on my fantasy trip, but this time it has an aura of REALITY.

I KNOW I was everyone in the world, and the thought came to me fully: If I AM TRULY everyone in the world, then I can now influence everyone to stop killing, to stop robbing, to stop wars. Yet, paradoxically, we began talking about pot, and how it was going to get scarce, and I had the distinct vision of myself killing someone for pot, or for the money to get pot, and I had the vision of being addicted so strongly that it was is if I WAS addicted at that moment (which reminds me of the paranoid instant of the last puff of a joint in Joan's, where the last taste was strangely and completely bitter, and I thought distinctly that they had dipped the end of the joint into something, and that something was stronger than pot, and addictive into the bargain. Pat was telling dreadful tales of the deaths from cyanide poisoning on the coast when they thought they were getting LSD, of things not being able to be identified, about his "processed" pot which had something done to it: he didn't know what it was, but it made it better. At that point Lou and Phil told about the time they had some Mescaline that was mixed with something else, and they were up for FOUR DAYS, which I didn't believe, but they described it as being the sort of thing they could turn on or off at will, and it sounded more believable.

Eating the Ring Dings I thought there might be something in them, thought that I could be getting anything, so long as I trusted these people, and did as I had said earlier: "Lit anything anyone gave them." But I was getting further and further out, and soon even these paranoid thoughts were left far behind.

Again I was everyone, again I was finding what was important: time wasn't important, the room wasn't important, what was necessary and best was love, and I loved these people, and maybe Joan and Pat would leave and I actually WOULD make love with Mike and Stewart. I lay relaxed, knowing it was a light bit different since Joan said the two were probably straight, but they were such BEAUTIFUL people that knowing I was gay couldn't possibly affect their beauty. I tripped out on the music, and I could feel my mind expanding, feel that I had contact with everyone in the room, and then Joan laughed nervously down at me, saying I was really far out, and I could just muster my speech faculties to say that, indeed, I WAS quite far out.

I attempted another phone call about 9, but there was no answer, and from that point on I didn't think about John, only about the desire of having Mike or Stewart next to me, near me, cuddling with me, though I feared being rejected by them. I grooved with the music, sailing way out to that magical world where every word was connected to every other word: school led to teacher led to grades led to report cards led to records led to music led to radio led to repetition led to everything else in the world. Every number was important, because which number it WAS was meaningless. Every word was important, because each word didn't really mean what it was supposed to mean, everything was switched around, and I felt comfortable with this thought. The same thoughts returned as my chest tightened and breathing became labored: I'm dying.

Then I leaped beyond: I AM dead! I died (and I could hear a crackle of flames, the scream of a crippled engine, the rush of air past the fuselage, almost smell the smoke) in an airplane crash, and since I died that way, THAT'S why I'm afraid of flying, because I DIED THAT WAY!! Everything else was connected: there was a fire, I'm dying by fire, NO, I DIED by fire, and that's why I'm afraid of fire. I've died as everyone has died, and that's why I fear death. But I don't fear death at this point: don't fear pain, because that could be fire licking at my feet and legs, don't fear crippling, because I might be crippled with the fire, and it wouldn't make any difference.

Again I clawed at my face: take off the mask: this face that I wear is only a mask: the real me is somewhere inside, and to get to that something inside, I have to take off the mask and face everyone. Face whom? Face THE GROUP: and suddenly the archetypes sitting around me became the people who were waiting for me to come out from behind the mask in Vancouver, the people in all the groups I'd been in, the people in the marathon just yesterday, and I thought I was there, in the group, and they were waiting for me to work, and I wanted to work, I DID want to work. Should I work through anger or fear or love or sadness? But first I would have to wake up.

WAKE UP! That was it! I WAS asleep, here in this apartment, and I had to wake up in order to live. I could wake up, and I opened my eyes, and the room began to buzz around, and they spoke about me, saying I looked like another person, and then Joan and Pat both said how well I looked that evening, and I told them about the diet and how I'd lost weight, and looked younger into the bargain, and then I realized it didn't matter how old I was, just so long as I could pull off the mask, and I felt myself pulling my nose to one side.

I still had my contacts in, but it didn't matter much, since the room was dark, the people were close, and I knew what they looked like, and really didn't need artificial aids. I didn't need the mask, either, and longed to rip it off and throw it away. My stomach felt funny. Yes, if I really wanted to be sick, I could be. I could throw up all over the rug, or get a pail and throw up into the pail, but that would be rather poor form, and isn't there anything I'd rather do?

Yes, I'd rather go to bed with Mike and Stewart, but still Pat was there, though he kept insisting that he had to get home by 10, and then he looked at the clock, egged on by Joan, and it WAS 10, and then they left rather quickly, Joan to go down and spend some time cleaning paint off the tiles of the kitchen, and she was surprised there was as little mess as there was, except on the floor, which was going to be painted anyway. And then there were only the three of us in the room, and maybe my fantasy WAS coming true.

Mike took the beds apart, spreading them across the floor, and Stewart made it obvious he was taking the middle one, and there went my fantasy of sleeping between them and being the object of all their love during the night. My mind swept in and out of fantasy, vacillating between Bob's "The fantasy is really real" and Cal's "I confused the real and the dream, and kept living in the dream, rather than in the real." I sat frozen in front of the bookcase as they undressed: if I just sat docilely enough, would they be forced to come over and caress me, and then I could do what I wanted with them with a clear conscience?

Then Stewart said he had to go to the john, and I did, too, and I felt very strange in the bathroom, and it definitely changed shape from a wide spacious cubicle to a dank, drippy, cold, narrow room, and I felt and feared the walls might close me in and trap me there.

It seems I urinated for hours, listening to the water trickle into the water, watching the yellow suffuse the clarity of the bowl, feeling the cold from the floor seep up through my socks, felt the walls closing in, my first glimpse of claustrophobia. Maybe there was already sex going on in the other room and here I was urinating for hours in a narrow cold, tinkly cubbyhole. Finally my bladder collapsed, and I turned to go and was taken by my image in the mirror, and it didn't look really bad, and the fair hair was tossed all over my head, and I turned out the light and went into the bedroom.

Unfortunately, Stewart was lying rigid with his eyes closed, as if closing off any discussion or activity, and Mike was lying, looking amusedly at me, telling me to put off the light. Earlier, he'd completely blown my mind by telling me to shut off the radio, and I went to the left knob, but only changed stations, went to the right knob, but only raised or lowered the bass and treble, he talked about something above, and I went up to look at an on-and-off switch, but it wasn't that, and then he directed me down, and again I changed channels, and then to the right, and it was only the bass and treble knob, but then he said INSIDE that, and there was the switch for off, and I laughed and my mind went lurching out into free fugue.

Then I stood laughing under the light, in my tee-shirt and shorts, vaguely aware they were lying naked under their blankets, wanting them, and he said it would be simple to put the light out, just pull the string, but I had debated going to bed with contacts in, but I just couldn't, so I wavered, said I had to get rid of the contacts, and went into the kitchen to grab a piece of paper toweling off the floor, deposit two thankfully easily-loosened contacts onto it, and carefully fold it in hand and put in under a vase-edge on the blue nightstand. Then I clicked off the light and went into bed.

Without the music I was even more tuned into the sounds around me, and there was a whistle from afar which I would have found annoying, but it seemed to be the sound of the universe, and I smelled a smell of unwashed body from one of the two, but it didn't matter, they were both so beautiful they could smell like shit and it wouldn't make any difference, and one of them began to breathe deeply enough to be confused with snoring, and that didn't matter, and the window was open, chilling the room, but there was heat from the radiator, and nothing mattered, nothing mattered, and I latched onto the single teakettle tone and went out to infinity.

When I came back I began to think I could show my powers by reaching out to the others, and I said, with all my force "Stewart!" and was amazed to hear him say "UMH?" in his breathing. Then I thought to try it again, and on the next exhalation, he said, um, again, and it was as if he were turning each exhalation into a vocalized purr of pleasure, much like the sounds Norma makes when she's coming, and like I make when I've exercised too hard, and it sounds good to let sounds come humming from the throat.

I tried contacting Mike, whom I visualized lying awake on the other side of Stewart, waiting for some sort of move from me, but I felt frozen. I raised my hand, as if to reflect my mental waves above Stewart and over to him, visualizing my hand as an antenna like the ships in the movie of "War of the Worlds," but I could get no reaction from Mike, and I felt rather silly thinking I could contact anyone else.

But Joan was a witch, and I tried calling her loudly, actually expecting to hear her surprised "What? Who is this?" in my head after I'd contacted her. Tried, but nothing happened. I went on, trying John, and I panicked when I heard feet coming up the stairs, expecting John or Bob or Avi or Joe or Joan to come tramping into the room, ejaculating "I heard you calling me, and I had to come."

From another apartment came the sound of music from radio or records, and I tried to influence what they played, but it didn't help. It didn't work, nothing worked, and I got more and more tired as the effect of all the smoking began to wear off. Was I happy? Yes, this had been a very pleasant evening, and I was happy to be staying here. But wouldn't it be better if I were in bed WITH someone, rather than alone? I felt an erection between my legs and debated jerking off, hoping that the sound would lead one of my bedmates to beg me not to waste it and be allowed to join in the fun. But I didn't and nothing happened.

I'd had the idea that we'd gotten into bed something like 1 am, and I expected it to be very late, but I really didn't know what time it was and didn't want to look at my watch for fear of destroying some of the magic of the evening. Time passed slowly, and I almost feared it would get late enough so that "Here comes the sun" and the light would come outside the window and I'd be wild with the thought that I caused the sun to rise at last, that at last I could see the light when I wanted to, not when the sun chose to shine. But the sun shines ALWAYS, it's only the turning earth that causes a shadow, and we think the sun's stopped shining.

I dozed off and woke up, feeling coolish, fearing to take off my underwear, but thinking it would be more seductive. So I slipped my tee shirt over my head and my shorts over my toes, expecting some sort of seductive question from one of the two beds, but nothing came of it and I slept soundly.

The alarm rang about 8 am and a naked Stewart leaped up to shut it off and got into the bathroom for a shower, and I wanted to look at him, but was too drowsy to follow up on it. He passed orange juice to us, then left, looking very dapper in his clothing. Mike got up at 8 and called in, gave me coffee, and I felt a bit guilty about staying and left at 9:30, happy.


DIARY 1220


Conversations such as this many times start very innocently, and only so slowly lead toward importance that it's often impossible to say just where the turning point between trivia and intimacy was. One moment we were talking and laughing, using only fractions of our whiskeyed minds, and another moment, through forgotten transitions, we were intent on each other, reaching out for support from each other.

At one point I remember her saying, "But, Bob, how can you be so SURE of yourself?" and I took it as a cue that she wanted to talk, replying in turn, "But what is there NOT to be sure about?" It may have come pouring out after that.

At another point we were talking about John, and we were both amazed how quickly Marty had taken to him, and it may have been at that time that Jerri said, "Marty should have been homosexual, it's really what he wants." I replied that I'd always known how much he'd spoken out against homosexuals, and that's why he was one of the last people that I could tell, and Jerri remarked with a touch of bitterness, "Yes, you threw it out on the table and waited for our reaction to it; actually we'd known for some months before that."

But it's so much different to KNOW something, and to get something out on the table. And it was so striking to hear Jerri, running her fingers through her hair, sipping her drink with her other hand, say that she'd spent her last weekend with someone who happened to be a girl also called Jerri, who lived in Brooklyn Heights, and though she knew they'd gone to bed together, she couldn't remember a single thing about the entire weekend: her guilt wouldn't permit her knowledge of her actions.

"Did you enjoy it, did you want it?" Yes, she enjoyed it, she wanted it more than she wanted anything else, but now she had a responsibility to a marriage, a husband and a child, how could she not feel guilty about stepping out of that role, even for a weekend?

I recalled Marty's telling me about the times she told him she'd been to bed with another man. "I told him about two or the three times I went to bed with a man---how could I tell him about the times I went to bed with a woman? He wouldn't hear of it: it would destroy him. He thinks of himself as so masculine, but I'm the most masculine---anytime we go to bed, I have to seduce HIM." And I remembered the times over the phone that he'd talked to me with a voice of frustration, saying that she wouldn't have sex with him as often as he wanted, and he was going out of his mind, and was even thinking of seeing another girl. "But," he would add, "it wouldn't be my fault, she'd actually DRIVE me to do it. I'm only a man, and I have to have SOME release."

And playing back her thoughts about his homosexuality, remembering the nights we spent together listening to music, talking, getting to sleep at 4 and 5 am, I wondered if possibly he weren't, not consciously of course, asking me for something other than advice during those phone conversations.

Jerri looked at me with her wet blue eyes pleading through long dark eyelashes: "I just like sex, it doesn't matter whether it's with a guy or a gal. I'm a switch-hitter, it just doesn't matter. But how can I do that with Marty?"

"Is going to bed the most important part of a relationship?" was the tack into which I now led the conversation. No, she said she knew about the difference between being with someone only for sex, and being with them when it went beyond sex. Yes, she loved Marty, yes, she knew he loved her and they both loved the baby, but I just didn't UNDERSTAND how much she liked sex.

"But it's possible to have a relationship without sex. Look at us, there's no sex or need for sex between us."

"Isn't there?" The answer was so quick, so frank, and she so quickly went on with something else that I was permitted to sit there, frozen for a few short moments.

At a certain point John came out, and the conversation, after vaguely trying to take an impersonal viewpoint, plunged back into intimacy. John afterward said he could hear from the tone of our voices what we were talking about, and he could see when he came out that I was trying to tell her that she had to lead her life: yes, she had responsibility to love Marty and Chris, but she also had a job, a family, a country, a house, and many other responsibilities that she could share with her responsibility as a wife and mother, and she could fit in her desires to go to bed with women, too, if she could look at it frankly, without guilt.

"How do you and John arrange it?" And we told her, each a bit, about our meeting at the Zodiac, and how the very promiscuity in our meeting compelled us to accept the promiscuity in each other. If it weren't for that very promiscuity, we wouldn't have met at all. Yes, we had a very deep relationship, but yes, we had sex with other people, sometimes together, sometimes quite apart.

John said that the idea of a threesome appealed to him, later when we were driving in the car, and I said that I was too close to Jerri in a specifically nonsexual way: it would be like going to bed with a close relative, and I'd feel very awkward, though I had to admit the idea passed through my head, also, looking at her pleading face, her boyish clothing, but knowing about the fat legs and woman's organs under the appealingly boyish exterior. Marion, Lily, Margaret, Gail, Jerri, they were all from the same mold: strong women who couldn't find an equally strong man, so they had to either do without, turn to other women, or find a weak man whom they could dominate into their own pathways.

Jerri, almost sobbing, said that she so much envied John and me our relationship, and even though we could admit to shortcomings in the relationship, though there were things about each other that bugged us, we could see what we had, too, and we liked it. But we'd both of us, waited a very long time for it to happen, wished it would have happened long ago, were amazed that it was happening now, tried to let it happen long ago, but it couldn't. We'd almost gotten to the point where we thought it was impossible to love, but here it was, not really of our volition, though we both worked at it.

But we insisted there was the chance for something like that for Jerri, and she softly remarked that there was a woman once, whom she wanted very badly, and that woman didn't want anything to do with her. Again we could sympathize with her, listing people we'd wanted who, for whatever reason, didn't want us, and we had to live with that. But, finally, there WAS someone who wanted in very much the way WE wanted, and we had gotten together. No one could guarantee how long it would last, and we admitted it was nice that we didn't have any arrangement as formal as her marriage, and again I cursed the society that demanded such contracts from its people---not for the good of the people, but for the controllability of the society.

Other people came out to the porch and swirled around us, but we'd gotten such a basis in the conversation that at last we could talk in generalities.

I'd told Marty we'd be going to Steak and Stein about 9, and when 9 came and passed, I came back to talk to him to see if he was hungry. He said it was OK, he'd go when we liked, and when I stopped, dizzy from drink, to urinate in the bathroom, I heard Chris crying, gasping for breath, bleating another cry, and I asked Marty about it. "He's overtired," said Marty matter-of-factly. "He gets like that sometimes, and he cries himself to sleep when that happens." I could heard the abandoned anguish in the cries: he was left alone, possibly hearing adults laughing, drinking, having fun nearby, and he was put into bed to sleep when he didn't want to sleep. Those cries would be repeated in therapeutic sessions in later years, coming out possibly as anger against those parents who left him alone when he didn't want to be left alone; when THEY did what HE DIDN'T WANT THEM to do.


DIARY 1443


We're playing guessing games with Glazunov, and I'm tripping to hear many parts of Tchaikovsky's Third Symphony through the music, and I get the vague "So THIS is what it's all about" feeling again, and Bob wants to go (he who usually seems headed for bed) and Art wants to stay and play another "Guess the Composer" game (he who usually seems so fatigued), and John has simply laid down on the sofa and begun snoring, so he's out of the picture from the start.

They want something to drink, and it's all I can do to give it to them, and then they still want to stay, so I put on the "Caucasian Sketches," and am flabbergasted to find that THIS is the music I've been waiting for to take me out of the world, and the cadenzas seem slowed down, and the triumphs seem to lead to the apocalyptic visions of heaven and all its cohorts at the next climax, and the familiarity of the music lets me sink into it.

Again there's the feeling of being sick, and I roll my head around on the back of the sofa and feel decidedly nauseous. Then the chili is beginning to make me fart, and I feel that I might shit my pants, and I feel that I could easily lapse into fear, and again I draw myself up, saying "This trip is what I MAKE of it," and decide to be cheery, but all I can do is put the records on, sit on the table, goonily nod back and forth, and finally slip to the floor to lie under the table, taking great care that I don't bump my head, and grab onto their two feet, saying that I'm very high, even though aware that "that's not said" anymore.

I just don't feel like talking, I feel they'll understand completely, and can do what THEY want. If they want sex with me, fine, if they want to leave, fine. John's snoring drives them out (along with my spaced-out-ness, and they thank me for the fine meal, and leave. I fix up the place a bit, making sure there's nothing out that will spoil, though I didn't finish the cucumber salad, and we didn't have dessert, and wake John up and get into the bedroom, to fall asleep immediately, so spaced out BOTH of us are.


DIARY 1726


Every so often one of these evenings comes up, and this evening was one of them! Get busy in typing OLD DIARY pages until 5:30, and then it hits me that I was supposed to be at Bob's for the press gathering for his radio program at 5! Shave and wash and catch beautiful subway connections across, leaving a note for Don saying that I'll be back at 8:30, and that I won't have had dinner. Get to Bob's at 6:10, and there are very few people there, so I look at Richard Ett's wall of asses, someone's lovely nude Confidential cover of Mayor Lindsay and Mia Farrow, the ceiling sculpture of cocks and tits while lying on the waterbed, and I talk to Nina and Bob for awhile, and then decide, lying on the waterbed, that I should talk to someone else, and the heavily outlined eyes of the redhead who's been lying with a cute blond guy attract me, and we begin talking, and we're talking about how she refused to fit into the pattern, enjoys her perverseness and contrariness, and Nina and I decide we want to know who we're talking to, and I ask for her name and she asks for mine, so I say "Bob Zolnerzak" and she says "Rochelle Owens" and the only think I can think of is the lovely nude guy posing for her ad for her play "Istanbul."

She chatters on about how she's already BEEN through every perversion she could think of, and how she settled for monogamous heterosexual relationships with her husband, whom she digs very much. I pick up on her phrase "miscellaneous genitalia" describing everyone who isn't her, and tell her about my evening in the orgy room at the Barn, and then she's called off to talk to someone, saying that she has to return to talk to me. I talk to the photographer for a bit, and then to Richard Zamparski, who seems like a nicer guy than Bob made him out to be, and then begin talking to Bob Milnes when the waterbed springs a leak, Bob brings in a filled hose to try to siphon the water down the side of the building, Nina tries calling the repair service, and I still look at Nauga, whom I'd smiled at before only because she had such incredible eye makeup on, and we started talking, and she said I could get anything I wanted by just WANTING it badly enough, and I say that doesn't work for me, talking about gay bars, and then she has the feminine temerity to ask if I want her, and I say I don't, and she counters as quickly as she can that she knew I didn't, because she could SEE that I didn't, and that was why I wasn't going to get her. By this time the cutish fellow with a blond mustache who was lying next to her on the bed had begun showing signs of interest in her, so I got up and had some more wine.

Then I started talking to Bob Milnes, and when he said he was vice president of Mattachine, I said that my idea of Mattachine was Frank Kameny, and he said the New York office is quite different, told about the phone line, that sounded great, about the Speakers Bureau, about which I asked him, saying that I was interested, and it turned out he WAS the contact with the Speakers Bureau, and he said I could come with him to the office at 8, when he went.

So we cabbed across town to West End Avenue at 71st, and we got into the office to see a large-eyed guy turning over the evening to Bob, then Meeker Channuchach, bar Jonah, started taking over the conversation, telling about his incredible university on the side of Mount Scopus who requested a gay dorm back in 1950, saying "if the Bedouins can do it, why can't we?" and they were ALLOWED, by LAW, to have gay sex and smoke hashish, but no one told him he shouldn't bring hash into the country, so a bearded custom's officer took his ounce away, bolstered by Meeker's advice "It's good stuff." Then he decided that, after an early life of putting ON the girl's stockings and panties after she took them OFF, then fucking her, he wanted to see what it was like to suck a cock, so he asked around the village, got recommended somewhere, and finally sucked someone off, and he was wild with its praises, and now he was looking for someone to fuck him.

He talked about blowing exchange students' minds from NYU, UCLA, and Berkeley when asking on their school forms if they were gay, saying it would be to their benefit to admit it, and being greeted with chori of MARY's! He told about his brother, Lennie, telling his father, the rabbi, when he was twelve, that his older brother fucked him. When he also told his father, a Hassidic rabbi yet, that he was gay, the father took the advice of Buber, whom few Hassidim follow, and treated the child as if the child had a life of its own, NOT as if the child were to live the life the FATHER wanted to live THROUGH the child. True, he said, this was not very normal, most of them followed Maimonides, and said that everyone had to do EXACTLY what was in the book, but SOME liked to believe in the god who was loving, rather than the stern God of Justice.

At that point Bob started saying he was an atheist, and I couldn't resist asking, "What do you think of the statement, 'God is love?'" And he had to admit that he believed in THAT kind of a god, but didn't believe in the traditional theological sense of a god. The conversation threatened to go on and on into the night, and I kept calling to verify that Don wasn't home yet, and finally at 9:30 I left, saying that I would get in touch with Bob about the speaking idea, since I had the two main qualifications of being interested and having the proper free time, and he said that I had a very nice speaking voice, and I could come along with him to observe what he had to put up with on his lectures, and I began looking forward to it. He said that transportation was always paid, and sometimes there was $25 or so extra, of which the lecturer got half and Mattachine got half.

There was another Jewish guy sitting there shooting questions into the midst, not gay, talking rather disparagingly about "homos," and a woman wandered in who was secretary of the group, though not gay herself, but the group also dealt in women's problems, and looking through the pamphlets that Bob gave me, the group DID look like a good one, though there was a lot of paperwork on each phone call (and a lot stacked around the toilet to discourage one from sitting there), but it seemed great.

So for a day to go from "Yes" for Concentration, a lot of wine, great talk with Rochelle Owens, to talk with Bob, and possible speaking jobs in Mattachine!


DIARY 1941


His father was always a cold, calculating, completely unemotional tyrant, who sicked his older brothers on him and was so intolerant of weakness in his sons that he waited until too late when his brother, aged 9, had an attack of stomach pains and he soon died of a ruptured appendix. He said he thought he'd never forgive his father. I went through the "I'm glad I talked to my father again before he died" bit, but John insisted that the entire world would be glad when his father died, and even when he tried to make things up to him, he would be greeted only with the greatest coldness. I tried to get him at least to see the POSSIBILITY of his father saying the same thing about HIM: "If he just ONCE said he needed me, that he wanted me, that he loved me, I would forgive him everything," but he seemed to insist that he HAD tried that tack, and it just hadn't worked. He remembered the summer his father insisted he go away for the summer, to return only the day before school started, and his mother was heartbroken, and he never forgave his father for doing THAT. I asked how he'd feel if he got news his father had died, and he said that he WAS very sick and immediately started speculating that he might be very rich from his land investments when they moved to Miami from Savannah, or that he might be very poor because if there was anything to do with Jews or blacks or the Spanish, he would sooner take an enormous financial loss rather than have ANYTHING to do with them. "He's not prejudiced, he's BIGOTED." Then he talked about all the times his father inculcated the idea that his face and his body were completely unpleasant to look at, and that his cock was small. He rather admitted that his cock was on the small side, but it was certainly nothing to be ashamed of, and since he'd started working out with his body, certainly he had nothing to fear THERE. I'd gotten the fact that he was Capricorn out of him, and I said one of their characteristics was to improve as life went on: he didn't seem to agree to that, but as he told about how depressed he was as a child, it certainly seemed quite true. He also told me that when he went to the baths, if there was someone very ATTRACTIVE who was paying attention to him, even though he might WANT to fuck or be sucked by the cute guy, it would be impossible for him to get a hard-on. It would have to be a somewhat straight guy who seemed not very interested in him, and then he'd have an instant hard-on and be ready for the wildest sex. He felt there was someone inside him who wanted to throw every reserve to the wind, yet when he got into a group, he absolutely froze up, and the first person who even HINTED that he didn't want to neck with him---to have an affair that would go further than an affair of the body, which would be in effect a little love affair each time---he would turn completely off. I insisted to him that his story sounded quite a bit like mine, though I didn't go into the awful details of how many times I couldn't come up, but I told him that I suffered from very much the same kind of problem, and that the only way to OVERCOME such a problem is to just put yourself into the position of overcoming it again and again until it was accomplished. He said he'd just be scared shitless. He talked about how the sex scene is going to be difficult with Ivan when he comes just after Memorial Day, because he's been the only man Ivan's been to bed with, and he thinks sex might not work out. He talked about Jim-Jim and how Jim was disappointed because HE didn't have an erection the first few times, but how "not to be immodest, but I just turn the guy ON" came to rule the day. He said, early on, that I looked fabulous; and in fact HE looked just great, and I couldn't bring myself to tell him that, though I said something about his chest when we were in bed, and I said I loved to watch him jerk off, and I tried to be close to him, but each time there was a kiss, it was he who initiated it. I suppose I'm playing it cool because I have John and he has Ivan, but it doesn't seem quite sensible, as I tell it, how I DIDN'T tell John that he had all the attractions of a real MAN, and that he should FORGET what his father said about him, how he beat him and kicked him when he was down, and enjoy SHOWING his body and letting it BE PART (not all) of a group thing, or as much of a group thing as HE could take, and all the group could GIVE.


DIARY 2017


Fairly squiffy when we get into the car to drive from Art's to Joan's, and when we get to Joan's building, she hollers out that we should come up, and Bill D. is there with Joel and Mike, of all people, has returned to his own apartment, and we all pile in there, where Joel is very happy to see me, kissing me in the kitchen and saying it was so funny because he didn't even know who I WAS when I was there that night. Then Mike comes in and looks fairly nonplussed at our necking, so we break and Joel makes me a vodka and orange juice, and it goes down so quickly that soon I'm ready for another. The other John is there, too, and he's sending cow eyes at me, so when he goes to his apartment to get some more ice, I ask if I should come along, and he says, quite quickly, "Yes." Get to his place and he rummages around in the refrigerator, and then our lips meet in a kiss, and he seems to enjoy it, but I'm so drunk by this time that it's just another kiss. Back to the apartment and share Art's joint, and then Joel says HE has some, so we pass that around, and then I'm really feeling insensitive to the finer points of human encounters. Mike seems to be pissed about all the fairies inhabiting his upholstery, and Joan is groaning about her day and how miserable she is, and every so often I suggest that it really might be time to go down to the street fair, but no one seems eager to join me. We pass around another joint, and by that time I'm standing above Steve on the floor, running my fingers through his fluffy head of hair, and he looks up like a scratched cat, and I keep doing it and eventually I'm sitting on the floor next to him, kissing him. Bill D. is still flitting around the apartment, Mike is glowering in the corner, John is chattering away with someone, and I'm bouncing from person to person, feeling absolutely nothing at all, and finally it seems to be about one o'clock, we're obviously not going to the street fair, and it's time to leave. I don't have any recollection of getting down the stairs, but on the street I have a rush of nausea and walk fragilely along the curb, whispering hoarsely to John that I might be sick at any moment. I delicately cross the street and John opens the car door, and I get inside and don't even bother to fasten my seatbelt, but think that closing my eyes will make it easier to take the swaying of the car. We start off, and I'm very conscious of my open-mouthed breathing, and John's silent as he starts driving. At one early point I ask him if he's OK doing the driving (not that I'm capable of taking over, but I'm hoping he doesn't feel as badly off as I do), and he assures me he's OK. Somehow I got the idea that since we were in Manhattan, and it was only Saturday, we might be going back to my place, but then, after a number of turns and NO straight-line driving which would have been 8th Avenue, I hear the peculiar rubbery whirr of the tires on the grid of the Brooklyn Bridge, and I get up enough courage to say "Well, I'm sure glad we're going to YOUR place," though I couldn't really think of WHY, I guess I just wanted to say I knew where we were. I was feeling more and more groggy in my throat, and I counted the turns and waits as we drove through Brooklyn Heights, and finally we were on Hicks Street, and I knew I'd have to ask John to open the garage door. Then there was a short motion and a stop, and there were voices very loud nearby, and the sound of music, and he'd parked at the curb, just down from his doorstep, and he opened the door for me, I negotiated the walk as if it were covered with ice, noted the Hawaiian sitting on the steps and that there must be some sort of party next door, and then climbed the stairs, consciously NOT thinking that I'm going around in circles, and then practically walking on eggs I leave all my clothing behind me and sink down onto the pleasant hardness of John's bed, and I say something about being REALLY high, and then I'm completely out for the night. Don't feel so bad when I get up in the morning, but the subway ride seemed to beat down all my curative powers, and I lay down when I got home, hoping to feel better when John arrived with his bicycle. But then I ended up staying in bed most of the day, feeling alternately ALMOST all right, and at other times absolutely awful: too much liquor, maybe mixing, and MAYBE acidic orange juice!


DIARY 2027


He comes to my apartment so often, trying to sit next to me on the sofa, that I get the impression he's very fond of me, particularly since he seems to single me out of any group situation in which we're in, and he's very delighted to kiss me when we part. But I also get the idea that he somehow "respects" John's position in my life, so that he wouldn't do anything OVERTLY threatening to our relationship, yet I get the definite idea that he's determined to STAY AROUND, so that if anything DOES happen between John and myself, he'll be ready to come into the breech and take his place. So that gives him a quality and patience that I find very striking. He's very interested in the books that I read, remarking about how informative they appear to be, and how much he'd like to read one or another of them, and how they might help him in his thesis on Borges and the "Ideal Philosophy," whatever that might be. I think even if I asked him DIRECTLY what he thought about the relationship, he wouldn't be able to put what I've said into words, either because he doesn't think that way, which is probably most likely, OR because he himself doesn't even know exactly what he's doing. He seems most interested, when he's here, to make sure he's quite entertaining with stories about himself and about his friends, though he seems to be saying that all his FRIENDS are very strange, but he, himself, is quite rational and worthy of attention, not because of stories he MAKES UP about himself, but because of what he ACTUALLY IS and DOES. I can't imagine him doing ANYTHING to come between John and me, partly because he wouldn't want to feel the guilt if he felt he were anything to blame for anything happening to us, but if anything WOULD happen, I have the feeling he'd be very tender, understanding, caring, wanting to be with me in "my hour of need," so that the need I feel for John might be gradually transferred onto HIM. Maybe that explains the strange restraint in his kissing, the awkwardness when he enters the apartment, not knowing whether to kiss me or not. But, laughably, the whole story might be on MY part, the romanticism MINE, rather than his, in our rather odd relationship.


DIARY 4132


Yes, it IS better that I get around to taping. 1. It'll set up the tape recorder for the STONED recordings; 2. it'll give Bill what he wants, a chance to talk about what he's doing, as his letter yesterday so solidly gives me the feeling he WANTS to do; 3. it'll give ME the chance to respond to BILL with the attention he wants me to give him now, in partial thanks for the attention HE gave me BEFORE, when I wanted it---a complex way of saying that he made me feel GUILTY about my relationship's selfishness toward him, and so now I feel I have to do WHAT HE WANTS to assuage my feelings of guilt; 4. it'll give me a chance to EDIT what I write: rather than just recording the whole thing, I'll record only what seems GOOD, and give myself a chance to ORGANIZE it, also---part of the "private" versus "public" writing that people seem to be talking about in connection with my writing. But I wonder what I'll get INTO: 1. seem worried that some UNhappinesses might come out---more easily CONTROLLED in a letter; 2. might have to cope with my being BORING, though it's what he wants; 3. will definitely want to talk through a number of things: A. my seeming need to have EVERYTHING under control, so that my TO DO list is contemplating having even ways in which I RELAX, in order to FORCE myself to relax, but I can never relax as long as I feel I want to FORCE myself; B. paradoxville is closer and closer: things seem at the same time BETTER and WORSE, more SIMPLE and LESS simple, more WORTHWHILE and less worthwhile; C. the area of "I seem to be sensing areas of madness: schizophrenia, paranoia (they're doing it to bother ME), manic-depression (I'm so HAPPY, I'm so DEPRESSED); D. I seem to want to share EVERYTHING, not only what I THINK should be shared---rather, NOW I think EVERYTHING should be shared; E. Maybe into sex: Bill would have been the PERFECT (in retrospect) foil for my sexuality; even John ISN'T at this point; F. I'll have to think of a FORM for the tape: and maybe it's a typed guide-sheet from which I'll ramble through the tape, then type an edited version from the tape, send it, type an edited RESPONSE, and so on. Lots more TIME. G. then the sense of KEEPING things for old age: letters and writings and souvenirs and scrapbook, to sort through LATER. H. and the need to not structure EVERYTHING, so that I'll get SPONTANEOUSLY into new and BETTER areas.


DIARY 4262


Since I get there at about 5:50, only Nath Rockhill, who miraculously remembers my name, is there, taking my $5 for John's limited income membership and my $15 full membership. Put my coat on a desk chair, look around the four large rooms and one small room with storage stuff in it, and it even does Mattachine one better, except that no ONE room is as big as the main room at Mattachine. Lots of officers around and I introduce myself to Dr. Brown, and lots of old codgers from SUNY at Albany talk to me, and Bruce Voeller is bright eyed and still somewhat a puzzlement. Finally get around to talk to Frank Kameny, interested in following on Barbara Gittings' apron strings, and Peter Fischer is really cute, though Mark Rubin is quite a bit OLDER looking than he is. There's a huge purple transvestite in a white wig and purple garter which she says is her trademark, a straw haired kid with displayed lines of muscle going down to his darker pubic hair, Lars Larsen, tall and blond and sexy and about six OTHER very attractive people (a scruffy blue-jeaned guy like the Birthday Present in "Band," a black haired saddle-shoed doll of the old type, and a couple of groovy new types, except that the Vernon who talked to me through bright green eyes seemed to have NOTHING to say), and a surprisingly large number of women. They put out LOTS of food: pots of nuts and chips, bags of carrots and cauliflower and broccoli with a nice dip, and a HUGE wheel of cheese and assorted crackers and munchies. Carl and Henry showed up and introduced me to a couple more people, including a gay couple who CAN adopt a child (!), and I talked again to Frank about Laird, but I just couldn't bring myself to talk to any of the cute ones, and got tired of NOT meeting the eyes of the ones who were NOT cute, so I decided that NO one from Mattachine was going to show up (not even Don for the director's meeting) except Henry and me, nor was Marge, so there wasn't any reason to stay around, particularly after some of the more spectacular ones left, so I got on my coat and left without having to say goodbye to anyone, which was not the way I would have liked it, but that's describing exactly the way that it WAS!


DIARY 4274


Each time he talks to me his range of knowledge seems to get more and more impressive, all of it PERFECTLY reasonable sounding. He's called to see how I liked Russia, since he's conceived of selling Comress's mechanical device which hooks into a computer and records how much time is spent where in storage, how much time on tape, how much on disk, to indicate what time is being well used, what ill used, what additional devices would improve efficiencies (he's sold 5 to Control Data, where they'd previously used an 1108 to monitor an 1108), and now he's planning to tell his board of directors on Tuesday that he's gotten in touch with the Department of Commerce, and they're interested enough in his scheme to want a number of men from the company to come down and discuss the deal. He says it will take at least three meetings in Moscow, and proceeds to name the committees and chairmen and heads that he'll have to go through. I tell him my situation, and then he goes soaring off into the empyrean. First he tells me that the Small Claims Court almost ALWAYS rules in favor of the little guy. He says it's so simple: no lawyer needed, simply go and fill out a few forms and the large company, rather than fighting the battle with lawyers, will just settle on paying any sum less than $500. So much for THAT. Then he goes into the current oil crisis, saying that it'll probably keep people off the road for his skiing weekends. Then he starts to explain how the stock and bond markets work: Double A bonds are based on something called the moving average of inflation (not the proper term, but close), and it's that plus 3%. Previously, there was a 3% inflation rate, but now it's about 8%, and as the 3% quarters are replaced with the 8% quarters, the inflation rate (average) will skyrocket, so that the yield from bonds will have to soar---if the average rate of inflation is 7%, the bond yield will be 10%. The STOCK people have to keep up their yield in order to compete, so that the STOCK yield will have to go up to 10%. Since it's 10% of the SELLING price, the selling price will have to go DOWN so that the company can pay the SAME amount of money and still have a higher yield. So much for companies wanting their stock prices kept up. Then he starts talking about the second echelon leaders in the government: yes Bill Simon, the new energy head, is good, and he SAYS Kissinger is good. So he says that eventually Nixon, faced with a perfectly airtight case by the House judiciary committee, will resign rather than go through the impeachment process and getting fined and thrown in jail, Ford becomes president, and relies on these GOOD second-echelon people who will now have all the power. So it MIGHT NOT be so bad! Then he gets into the oil situation, saying that they'd just as soon leave it in the ground, cut back production, yet they have to keep on the good side of everyone, or there's no reason why the U.S. Marines couldn't be sent in and occupy the entire country in 15 days. He said that the current government has no morality, the Arabs have no morality, throwing some ports on the Mediterranean to Russia would satisfy THEM, and then the US would be in charge of the Saudi Arabian oilfields, worth $1.5 TRILLION dollars, which he laughs and says is enough to buy TOTALLY everything (down to the last toothpick) in England and France. He says NO one would care, it's only BY the sufferance of the large countries that the little countries (who'd raise all the stink) have any existence at ALL, and it was about time they realized it. THEN he tells of the fantasy of Nixon sitting down with Faisal and saying: "Look, our country is using power VERY inefficiently, so I want a crisis, to get everyone to do what I want them to do, and when they've had enough, I'll also use it as an excuse to put pressure on Israel (I never liked those Jews anyway) to get THEM where I want them, and then everything will be what WE want. OK?" And it sounds all REASONABLE. He says that the truckers are caught in a pinch because their COSTS have risen but their PRICES are frozen and can't be increased, but he sees things like that as no great disadvantage, because they can be DEcontrolled almost instantly. THEN at the end he gets into the EASY chemical reactions that blend isoamyl alcohol with nitrous acid to yield poppers, with the proper equipment and 1000 1-oz bottles, you can MAKE it for 10 cents a bottle and SELL it for $10 a bottle, except that it happens to be against the law to manufacture a "controlled substance." DAZZLING!


DIARY 8173


John is tired and goes home, dropping us off at Willow and Orange, and then Mal stops off at HIS apartment, where I see a Scrabble set and say I'll call him to play a game. Then upstairs and Arnie finds two kinds of cheesecake that we can try, and I light the rest of the grass from the pipe and we have some puffs. He whips up some hot chocolate in a new mixer he has, and spreads fresh strawberries around the cheesecake, so it's a real stoned delight. I'm smiling and brimming over with good feeling, except that it's quickly obvious that Arnie wants something more than companionship for the evening. I eat one, then two pieces of cheesecake, and then he discovers he has some hash that Greg smuggled back from Morocco, and we light THAT and I get quite dizzy and even more hungry. Then he decides he has a whole cheesecake in the fridge for two weeks that has either gone bad or he'll give to me, and we cut into it and though it's dryer than the first, it's still great enough to have two or three pieces of, and Arnie warns me against licking off the knife because it's sharp, and I'm so buzzy that I wouldn't trust myself with a spatula! Then he puts his hands on my knees and smiles into my face, and then starts kissing me, and kissing me, and kissing me. I decide I'm not going to FIGHT it, though I'm mightily uncomfortable, and somehow I find myself with my eyes closed, letting him take his will with kissing, with a silly beautified grin on my face, making it clear that I like someone liking me even though I don't have to like the person who's doing it. It goes on for quite long enough, and he's standing and quite hard, trying to get closer to me, seated on my stool, but then I feel it's gone on long enough, and as I cast my eyes around while he clasps my head to his chest he finally releases me and I say "I guess I'm really tired." I put on my coat and he says "You've forgotten something" and I take the two-week-old cheesecake, but ignore the hash that he had offered me---when can he say HE might not need it, though he said he's never tempted by the goodies hanging around since he never smokes in his apartment by himself---and he doesn't offer it again. Back home to read and exhausted to bed at 2:30.


DIARY 8313


Photius was quite charming, talking of his birth in Alexandria, his living in the Belgian Congo, now Zaire, Neil's trips to Greece which he knows better than Photius, and quickly the terms "gay" are out onto the air, so it IS obvious what kind of an evening it is. Drinking straight vodka with a twist of lemon, and getting drunk fast, so after three I take John's advice and switch to soda, and it's much wiser. Tom, Photius's lover, seems uncomfortable at first, but then seems to go along with it, and we go into the bedroom, where he gets permission to get into Neil's drawers and show his pornography. There are a couple of good books with HUGE cocks, particularly of the Ringo-type that I like so much, and John said that Photius was testing everyone's likes. Maybe. More and more people arrived, quite openly gay, and James Taylor on Personality Posters is a doll, but I agreed when someone said that the Mark Spitz poster was LAUGHING at us: it IS a cruel "Eat your heart out" sort of snarly smile. I'm cuddling with Photius, and he seems charmed, his bright lash-fringed eyes sparkling, and he then starts pursuing Don, who's balding and I don't quite care for him, but HE leaves before 12:30, when we're to go to Photius's, and then Photius takes up with a tall VERY deep-voiced fellow who's much more possible, and dancing starts. Tom asks me to dance with him, just to give him the opportunity to dance, and I do, hating it, and Photius dances with his friend, and the joints go around and I'm getting QUITE stoned. Someone older and blond asks me to dance a slow one, and we grind together nicely, and then Photius and I start dancing and necking, and get very involved, he getting semi-hard, and then Tom and I dance and he gets VERY hard, and we're laying on the bed for a bit, necking, but the party starts breaking up. I get a bit paranoid because Photius is kissing the other person and not me, and finally I decide to get dressed to go, and then they DO say for me to wait for them, and I'm out in the hall to wait until the three of them come out, we go down and get a cab, and up to the top floor and then up a flight of stairs in a house I JUST don't remember, but I was impressed by the "House Beautiful" d├ęcor of the apartment, particularly a lush plastic-covered sofa and some fake-wood paneling on the walls. There's a pipe going around, and then the suggestion that we go into the bedroom, but there's a hassle that I'm OUT of, figuring to be last on the list, and Photius and the deep voice go into the bedroom while Tom and I turn the lights out around the sofa. Then after we play for a bit, Tom wants to go into the bedroom, and there's only a blue light in there, so I undress and get into the tangle of bodies. Two are in 69, and I neck with Tom for a bit, but then there's a switch and Photius is sitting on my haunches and we're playing with each other, and there are more smokes, and it all gets very vague, except that I remember some electrically outlined vignetted of mouths going after cocks while someone else jerks off, and I had the impression of a CONNECTED GROUP OF FOUR more totally than ever before: I lying on my back, someone kneeling before me so I could do them, and THAT person doing someone who was standing straddling my shoulders, who was necking with the fourth person, standing behind the kneeler, who was feeling HIM up, while reaching around to play with me. Everyone occupied, outlined in a bluish light that made the flesh look yellow, somehow. Then there was a bright light for some reason, and I had the fantasy that they were filming my doing someone, and I'd do someone until they got VERY hard, and then someone ELSE would come over and get done, and I don't SPECIFICALLY recall the deep voice being done by me, but I DO remember doing Tom AND doing Photius, who really pumped it in, so that I had two, while SOMEONE, either Photius or Tom, had deep-voice, if at all, and the other two had no one. So from the bottom, I scrambled to the top. Finally it seemed to be over, everyone was dressing, and before I fell asleep I crawled out and left with deep-voice, wanting to ask him who got him, but feeling too embarrassed, brushing it off by saying I'm VERY stoned. Down into the 96th Street IRT station, wait for a train, buy the Times, have a snack and look at the TV listing for tomorrow, and get into bed EXHAUSTED and DRUNK and STONED at 3:45.


DIARY 8481


He tells me about his new "marriage" and then says he's worried about getting so serious about it. I point out that HE'S the one who used the word marriage, which hardly applied to a relationship between him and an innocent kid from New Jersey who lives with a friend because he can't stand his parents, who want him to quit school to go to work, but the woman demands that he ONLY go to school and work, and have NO dates "because he doesn't need that," and NO nights off. And so they can only meet one night a week, in Eddie's apartment, which Eddie said at LEAST three times seemed to the kid "like heaven." I probably stupidly said that I thought Eddie was fairly innocent himself, and that it sounded like a nice relationship. "Innocent?" he exclaimed, how can you SAY that, and he proceeded to tell me (I think re-tell me) about the black who ALSO worked hard and was very intelligent and strictly faithful to Eddie, but Eddie couldn't see what the guy saw in him, kept wondering when it was going to break up, and when it DID break up, didn't want it to, but it was too late. He said that he'd felt miserable about that for a long time. Then he'd never liked bars, and finally was encouraged to go to "Peter Rabbit" which was right in his neighborhood, because it was so friendly. He went and LOVED it. The people came up and said hello "without wanting to cruise," but he couldn't go up to someone he thought was attractive because "then I'd be cruising," and when I pointed out the disparity, he invoked his upbringing and the past gay life for ruining him for bars that are merely friendly. But he observed, as many have, that when he was feeling good about himself---namely, having a satisfying relationship with someone---suddenly people were stumbling all over themselves to talk to him, to go home with him, to go to bed with him. He talked over the evening when he'd made a date with the cute bartender, then saw a VERY cute kid that he finally said hello to, and the kid wanted to go home with him, but the bartender saw them talking and came over and took Eddie aside to complain jealously, and so Eddie had to tell the kid he'd hope to see him another time. He was amazed at his new-found success, just when he felt good about the help he could give his new lover.


DIARY 8482


I stand stupidly waiting for a doorman, but there is none, so I buzz his bell and go upstairs, into a hall smelling of garbage, past elevator doors next to mirrors that confuse the entranceways. It's a tiny apartment with parquet floors and his sofa and table, a TV, a small serving tray, and around the corner in a partitioned-off bedroom, a bed that JUST fit into the corner, and the usual kitchen and a strange bathroom with a sort of close dressing room in a kind of hall to the bathroom. Smoked and he and I necked on the sofa for a bit, then we caressed on each other's laps, and I was EXTREMELY conscious of "the smell" that had been so prevalent for about SIX WEEKS NOW (see DIARY 8498). So either I was smelling myself or him, and he seemed self-conscious, either of ME or himself, and that sort of changed the whole evening, along with the absence of Baby Magic. We stood and undressed, and then he said he had the mirror in a "secret place," which I'd seen behind the bathroom door when I went in earlier. So we stood on the cold tile and rubbed ourselves with saliva which got scarcer and scarcer as the evening WORE on, and I didn't have any poppers and HE didn't have any poppers, but I was surprised to see that he DID have things to munch on, and Sara Lee in the FREEZER (which of course would take so long to thaw out it would be useless for eating when I might want it.) He kept playing with himself, and I kept wanting to get into my own fantasies of prolonged orgasm with him, but it just didn't work in the SPACE. And without Baby Magic and poppers. So I went down on him while I went down, and he went down on me while he went down, and we both had to play with each other to keep ourselves up. Finally I figured it was lost, so I just wanted him to come, and he did, groaning aloud as usual, and then he went down on me, and I skirted out of the way, so had to take my own hand and my own spit and went on and on and on, and he at least saw my body in strain, and finally I came all over me, he seems seldom to take me, and we wiped up and there was REALLY nothing more to do, HE said he was tired and I was tired, so I mentioned we should meet to see Arnie's next week, and I left about 1, frowning at the TOTAL imperfection of the evening.


DIARY 8594


Victor and another roommate, who's getting a cold, come down for dessert, and Kenny and I have already been through Akron, Ohio, amusement parks, roller coaster rides (which comes from "Russian mountain," which I didn't know), Curtis talks about his lack of money, Victor talks about the two cute doctors who played with his cock while one taught the other how to do it, and I talked about my freelance jobs. Then after dinner he said that Rio was his second favorite city, and I said it was too, so we talked about that for a long time, and then I got to Kyoto, telling about the layout, the traffic, and the gong-filled rainy day at Enryakuji. We get into Polish jokes and back to "Mother May I" jokes, just to show how desperate we were for something to talk about. We talked about right-, left-, and up- and down-swinging cocks, the Carnival and sexiness of Rio, the strange people in the neighborhood: the black with white zinc paste smeared all over, the woman with dollar bills padding out her spectacular breasts, the old people with the shopping bags who are found in every major city, the rip-off artist who switched keys for their apartment in Rio, and I tell them about the butterflies at Iguacu and the trip to Sete Quedas, Llao-Llao and about Marty's eating the live shrimps in Morocco. Curtis talked about the newspaper he was working for named the Phoenix, the IN travel group that gives low prices on flights to the Rio Carnival, on a plane so famous the people from the town turn out to watch the queens deplane, and Joe McCarthy, who he's willing to talk to to see if I can chat about the early days of Mattachine. We talk about bicycling, walking around Brooklyn, Red Hook, sea urchins from Hawaii eaten raw, and when I leave they say I can stay the night and take the sofa or have the choice of any bed in the house, and I think they mean it. The small one tells about his letch for his father, we debate whether incest includes father-son relationships, since they can't have children, we slop up the drinks and lots of wine and I end up with port, feeling positively bursting at the belly, and we laugh about the selections on the Boston Pops program, they rave about "Constant Nymph," and I've spilled some wine, both Curtis AND Kenny knocked over drinks, so it MUST have been a successful evening, which didn't even end when I left.


DIARY 8620


Bob's amazed that's he's been "faithful" for three weeks, saying that hasn't happened in at least 2 years, though he was with someone for a "whole weekend" just a couple of months ago. He said Zacharias keeps telling him he loves him ("But how can you tell if you love someone after only three weeks?"), is looking for a permanent lover, and likes mirrors just as much as WE do. I ask whether I make him nervous by suggesting that WE go to bed, but he avoids answering that, saying that he feels like he SHOULD be faithful because Zacharias is so SERIOUS about it. But they've made the rule that they don't see each other but every OTHER day, though to HEAR Bob he hasn't seen him Saturday, Sunday, or tonight, though they did spend TWO days together right at the first weekend after Tsi-Dun. Bob says he doesn't know what to do (but he can't tell me what he WANTS when I ask him that), and that Zacharias has said (and Bob thinks he's right) that Bob wouldn't like it if Zacharias played the "cool" game that Bob keeps playing. The phone rang while I was there, and Bob sounded like he did on the phone with ME, with a lot of the raised-voice amazements, rather forced laughs, and lots of "I don't know WHAT to do's." He's said before that Zacharias surely wouldn't like a threesome, but there's something about the way they talk about rich friends that leads me to think that Zach MIGHT be as rich (or come from as rich a background) as Bob is (or came from), and that they feel "together" on that level, as I can NEVER swing, obviously always being the lower middle-class middle-westerner from a small town of a quarter of a million. They spend evenings together in cheap restaurants or in each other's apartments having sex, and it IS convenient that Zach lives right near by on the Upper East Side, in the 60s or 70s or 80s, or he comes down to Bob's so that Bob doesn't have to use the subway he hates so much, even to disliking having to go all the way down behind Trinity Church for unemployment every Monday. Bob's always anxious for something to do during the day, is pleased when I call him (I guess I'll call him NOW), and hasn't the SLIGHTEST idea where HE wants the affair with Zacharias to end up. Sad.


DIARY 8648


It's very humid, having just rained, but now stopped though the streets are puddly, and he's greasy as I am with condensed perspiration. I don't remember his first name, Avi excuses himself to go home, and we walk toward 14th to investigate Aladdin's Cave while I talk about my good editing work and the possibility of launching off into a travel agency, and he talks about an offer to go to Israel for a year starting in two weeks, where he's decided if they give him all he wants, he'll go, but if not, he won't. He's sad that his brother seems stuck in his ways, and I said that the year I didn't grow, that would be the end of my life, effectively. We talk about how persistence pays off, and we finally get what we want: people coming to US for jobs, and we can choose which we want, but that makes it VERY hard to go off into something that we're not so sure about. HE says "We might come back and others will have taken our place," and I make the brilliant response "But they'll be doing what we DID a year ago, and we'll have advanced three steps beyond that and wouldn't WANT to do what we did then." He likes that thought, too. We laugh about having to go upstairs at the Church of the Beloved Disciple's "Aladdin's Cave," and the walls of the hall are painted a ghastly grimy pink, and we're up two flights to ugly people kissing in greeting in the hall, and we look in to a bare box of a white room with lights blinking on and off, loud music, and about seven people hopping up and down in the middle of the floor, and everyone else sitting cliquishly around tables with drinks on them, with people wandering around looking determinedly happy. It's not the place to go at ALL, but I'm glad I saw it. We walk back along 14th to 6th, then I'm back to 7th to the subway, dredging up things to say. He talks about Tanya having found a job and a 27-year-old gay boy who wants to marry her; I talk about my breakup with John and about Elaine's 29-year-old Great Dane; we talk about Mattachine, how great New York is for finding new things to do, the luxury of just being able to stroll in the street, and about Kyoto, which both of us fell in love with when we saw, and he'd even like to live there. We say goodbye at the station, saying we'll see each other again in a year or three.


DIARY 8659


He calls, saying "Hi, Bob" so cheerily it's obvious he remembers who I am, and somewhere in the conversation he asks if I see Peter very often. He didn't know I'd moved to the Heights, still has his place upstate, and he's appalled at how much the prices have increased in the past five years. But for the TRAVEL business, he says it's getting worse and worse all around the world: in Japan the last time he was there there were NO tourists on the plane, only 40 Japanese going over and 50 Japanese coming back: a cup of coffee cost $3 at a fancy hotel, and a honeydew melon, as grown in the hothouses there, cost $12!! He said that it's impossible to build a house for less than $30,000, even the tiniest, and the companies are beginning to (no, I said that; HE thinks the companies will continue to support the populace)---everything has to be imported, and the only thing they export are tourists, who only get five days of vacation a year, so they spend EVERYTHING on it, even to going to Hong Kong and paying TWICE THE PRICE IN YEN THAT'S MARKED IN AMERICAN DOLLARS for something! He said the travel to Europe is down, travel to the South Seas is nonexistent, and that NO one should go into the travel business at this time. He says Lindblad just laughs when they get a resume from someone who's been to some of these courses; and then throw it away. He says El Al is in HIDEOUS shape: things are so depressed in Israel from the constant fighting that even the JEWS who go over are discouraged by the $1 cup of coffee and $1.25 glass of orange juice and telling their friends not to go over. They're spending a small fortune on advertising, and not getting anywhere. He's seen the new Pan Am ads: go now, you don't know HOW much it's going to cost in the future. His Wing Safaris went from $1800 to $1900 BEFORE January of this year: 30 cancelled; 30 letters were rewritten going BACK to $1800 and NO ONE signed back up: they hadn't gotten USED to increases. AFTER January, the cost went from $1800 to $2050, and NO ONE cancelled, somewhere between they got USED to the idea of constant inflation: they wanted to go, so they'll go because they KNOW it'll be cheaper than it will be next year. His business gets better as the stock market gets worse. Why? When the stock market's going up, everyone's getting rich by watching it; when it's going down, everyone's saving money; when it's just generally lousy, they're not going to buy, they're not going to sell, so why not take that vacation now? Some consortium of Danes or Swedes got together (because of the three-year tax write-off on things like this investment) and built a ship to compete with Lindblad's for $10,000,000. WORLDWIDE, Cook's got 50 people to go on a tour for the WHOLE YEAR. And 30 were people that were turned down by Lindblad (whose many tourists are LOTS Japanese), so the WHOLE of Cooks got ONLY 20 PASSENGERS. So they had to sell it, for $5,000,000, to Lindblad! And Kevin's negotiating the deal! He's also selling a yacht the company owned for a million, and he'll take it in yen and give the person who buys the yen from him 2%. INCREDIBLE. And he wants to have lunch or dinner with me sometime next week, after Tuesday, just to talk. What a DREAM of a job offer THAT could send me into! HE'S also read the Dines article in New York Magazine, and started talking about Periera Company that owns its bank in Switzerland that sells commercial paper at 7% TAX FREE, for a basic minimum of $2500, and how you can invest money in a bank on the Isle of Jersey for 13%, and how he'd introduce me to someone he knows from Periera that I could talk to and ask what HE suggests I could do to save things for myself. But HE'S been buying gold coins and putting them into a safe deposit box, AND has been doing other things with his money for the future, though when I asked him what he was going to do when the crash came, he said he'd be upstate at his 38 acres planting potatoes. He said that gold, or bank issues, were good things, but he'd just introduce me to the people, he didn't want to know what anyone was putting where. And I wouldn't want him to know, ashamed that he'd know how little I had. He said he left the stock market six years ago: I said I did too, and he thought I meant I SOLD all the stocks and put it in the bank, but I didn't let on that he was dead wrong. But how STAGGERING it was to talk to him---on top of the SETH SPEAKS material yet!